Of or pertaining to military or naval tactics; hence, pertaining to, or characterized by, planning or maneuvering for the short term; -- contrasted with strategic, planning for the long term.
In modern military usage, the term "tactical" usually refers to military operations with shorter-range weapon systems, on the battlefield, between the front-lines of opposing military forces, and to corresponding defensive systems. Tactical weapons and operations may decided the outcome of a battle, but normally do not determine the outcome of a war. In this book on proliferation, "tactical" usually refers to shorter-range (non-strategic) missiles and aircraft, and corresponding (non-strategic) defensive systems. Weapons systems that a major power may consider tactical for its operations may, however, be considered strategic by small states in relations with their hostile neighbors.
The lowest level of military operations, the view from the trenches and the foxholes. Tactical decisions are those made by the commanders on the spot, on the front lines. Most miniature games are tactical or grand-tactical in nature. The opposite of tactical is strategic.